Make Remote Meetings Better

The shifting landscape of meetings today has brought front-and-center the need to make meetings better – more productive with better results. There are 55 million meetings a day in the U.S. at a cost of about $1.4 trillion. Some 47% of people say that too many meetings are a drain on the workplace. Dr. Steven Rogelberg’s book, The Surprising Science of Meetings, makes suggestions to help solve the problems of bad meetings, wasted time in meetings, and unnecessary meetings. Dr. Rogelberg, a professor of organizational science, management and psychology at UNC-Charlotte, led an engaging workshop on meeting science at the 2020 Women’s Economic Development Network Forum. Yes, a workshop on meeting science was awesome!

Dr. Rogelberg’s recent video offers 10 tips to make remote meetings better. We are sharing a few of our favorites. Watch the 4 minute video clip for all 10 tips.

  • Sharpen the agenda by structuring it with questions to be answered. This also tells you who needs to be at the meeting so you can limit the number of participants.
  • Use active facilitation by calling people by name and ask questions directed to people.
  • Use video instead of conference calls to cut down on multi-tasking.
  • Establish remote meeting norms so everyone is on the same page about how the meeting will be conducted.
  • End the meeting well with clear take-aways to the directly responsible person.

Since we are all Zooming more than we may want right now, a few suggestions from the Creative EDC team on video meetings:

  • Practice, practice, practice. Find a willing colleague or your home-schooling kid to practice all of the settings in Zoom. Did you know there is a white board feature that can be a pseudo flip chart? Get to know the features well so you will not be testing features with clients.
  • If you are leading a Zoom meeting, start off with a slide that goes over housekeeping like using chat, ‘raising your hand’, and how participants can engage.
  • Remember that most video meetings are being recorded. There have been a few ‘oops’ moments that will likely haunt our colleagues for years.
  • Don’t forget you are still ‘at work’. Your cat jumping on the keyboard (once) is funny. Wearing a concert t-shirt from the 90s isn’t.

Dr. Rogelberg says that meetings done wrong have tremendous costs, disengagement, and ‘meeting recovery syndrome’ and meetings done right are major opportunities for inclusion, innovation, engagement, and ROI. A few of the key take-aways from the workshop he led at WEDN on meeting science:

  • Half of all meetings start late because we are coming from another meeting. Calendar programs default to scheduling meetings on the hour and half-hour so try meeting times that end at ten minutes before the hour and start at an odd time like eight minutes after the hour so people can take a rest break and get to the next meeting on time.
  • The person who most often says a meeting is a success is the person who talks the most, who is usually the person leading the meeting. Structuring the agenda for a high level of engagement is important.
  • Meetings are more efficient with fewer people so carefully consider who really needs to attend.
  • Start well (organized agenda, most important topics first, assign topics to people, list desired results) and end well (next steps).
  • Consider other meeting structures like huddles, standing, walking, etc.

We highly recommend a reading of The Surprising Science of Meetings. Now more than ever, it is important to turn meetings into opportunities for inclusion, innovation, and engagement. Dr. Rogelberg is offering webinars to companies who want to make their remote meetings more successful. Research suggests that the remote is consistently rated as poorly run, not engaging, and ineffective. Ironically, research also suggests that remote meetings are generally preferred by individuals because the anonymity allows for extensive multi-tasking – clearly not a desired outcome. To read more about Dr. Steven Rogelberg, his webinars on remote meetings, and The Surprising Science of Meetings: https://www.stevenrogelberg.com/

To learn how Creative EDC has pivoted to facilitate online engagement, remote input sessions, and virtual strategy meetings, reach out by phone, email, FaceTime, Zoom, Hangouts, or any other way. We’re on them all.  

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